Vatican City

Home of the Catholic Church, the enclave of the walled Vatican City State is located within Rome, Italy.

Artviva: The Original and Best Walking Tours
Average Rating:   4.9
out of 5 stars
   Based on 82 Ratings.

On 2016/11/04
Tasha said:

BEST way to see Rome

My husband and I were on our honeymoon and booked the "Original Rome Walk" for a Monday afternoon on Halloween; it ended up being a private tour with our guide Sylvie and it was FANTASTIC! She was super knowledgeable and funny, and took the time to answer my husband's multiple questions. The tour itself was also great - I would highly recommend this to anyone visiting Rome!

On 2016/11/02
Dawn Everidge said:

Tour of a lifetime

My friend and I took the Genius of Michelangelo Tour by Artviva and it was absolutely brilliant, the highlight of our time in Florence!! We cannot recommend it enough!! Our tour guide was fabulous, a riveting former art history professor, who brought The Renaissance to life for us as he guided us through Florence. His stories pulled us back to the Florence known to Michelangelo and his contemporaries. The crowds disappeared for us as we were transported through time and were guided to Michelangelo's well-known and lesser known works. Ultimately the masses literally parted for us, momentarily, as we realized the dream of a lifetime, seeing his masterpiece, The David. It was the tour of a lifetime that we never wanted to end!

On 2016/08/06
Bruce Auster said:

We cannot imagine any other way to visit the Uffizi than with a knowledgeable and entertaining guide. Angelo was both -- funny and smart. He told stories: about the art and the artists and the Medicis and we came away understanding key concepts. We learned a lot and smiled the entire way. Thank you for a wonderful tour.

On 2016/06/16
The Caiarelli Family said:


Our June9,2016- Original Florence Walking Tour with guide Barbara,was wonderful. Barbara was very informative about sights and history of Florence.We really enjoyed her and the beautiful sights. We would recommend your tours to anyone visiting Florence area.Thanks again,The Caiarelli's

On 2016/06/01
Amber Weekes said:

Everything I wanted and so much more!

I am forever grateful to the staff at Art Viva! My whole life, I had always wanted to see the Statue of David, and I made my request, and it was granted! I wanted to be there at a time that was not crowded so that I could take unobstructed photographs and drink in the Statue as long as I could. Elisabeta was amazing and incredibly informed about the Statue and Florence. She shared with me wonderful places in Florence that I never would have considered. I had my time with the Statue, and I will be forever grateful to her and to Celeste who manages Art Viva. I was so impressed with having my own tour guide that I booked a small group tour for the following day through Art Viva and went to the Uffizi. Lovely as well. I will recommend this company over and over again. I owe a debt of gratitude. I felt so well taken care of and had my dream come true. I was so moved at being able to see the Statue of David completely unobstructed that I cried for hours afterward. Thank you and cheers!

On 2016/05/31
Angelica Blanks said:

Best way to see such an amazing city

What a wonderful way to experience the best of Florence. Ismael and Elisabetta were charming, funny, and knowledgeable guides. Thank you for allowing us to fall in love with Florence, it's truly a gem.

On 2016/05/22
Maggie said:

We had an amazing time touring Florence and understood so much more due to the great guide we had with Artviva (Brenda). Being a local, she was passionate and knowledgeable about the history and culture of Florence. Definitely a 5/5!

On 2016/05/10
The Moores said:

Our tour guide was excellent. He provided a great many historical details about the monuments and building and the way of life in past centuries. He made the city past come alive in a very meaningful way. We could imagine Galileo or Michelangelo walking the same streets. Our 3 hours were over too soon. The guide was from Augtralia, but truly could relate Florence history in a fun way.

On 2016/01/15
Ann Martelli said:

My family's ArtViva tours on Dec. 22, 2015 were everything we paid for. Brenda walked us around the city center pointing out the architecture, symbols, statues and great places to eat/hang out. Her in depth description of Michelangelo's David was so interesting, even my teens/young adults listened and remembered. Fantastic! In the afternoon, Hilde was our guide through the Uffizie Galleries. She gave an art history lesson that was forever memorable. Again, the teen/20's kids were listening. We got so much out these private tours. Well worth it!

On 2015/11/24
Hope said:

Great tour, great guide

The tour was excellent. Our guide, Adrianne, was very knowledgeable and able to answer our many questions. She also went above and beyond her duty by helping keep our three-year-old entertained during the lunch so that we could enjoy ourselves without worry.

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The name ‘Vatican’ dates back pre-Christ, with land across the Tiber river having been nominated thus at least by the time of the Roman Republic. The area was already considered sacred at this time, with Pagan altars, monuments and tombs having been placed here.

Over time, it became a popular area also amongst Christians and indeed, St Peter visited the area upon his arrival to Rome.

St Peter was considered the first Pope of the Catholic Church. He was eventually crucified as a martyr on the Vatican site around 64-67. At around this time, his role was assumed by Pope Linus. Whilst the role and function has evolved somewhat over time, today Pope Francis is the 266th Pope to rule over the Christian state of Vatican City.

From the time of St Peter’s arrival, we have the formation of the Holy See, the jurisdictional and governing body of the Catholic Church. A few decades later, in the early 300s, the area saw the construction of St Peter’s Basilica.

Eventually the Vatican City site grew to house more power and more property. Popes accumulated additional territories, establishing Papal States in various parts of Italy and beyond. They took on secular political positions in the Roman government, battled wars over land disputes and managed to accumulate great wealth and power.

The ruling Popes did not always have their residence at the Vatican City however, living instead in other Roman palaces and even in Avignon, France, for some decades.

Upon unification under the Kingdom of Italy in 1861, Pius IX returned to lay claim to the Vatican State lands. All satellite territories within the peninsula fell to the Kingdom of Italy, as the Holy See ceded all bar Vatican City.

And here arose the great “Roman question”.

In essence, the Roman Question was a debate about what - if any - of the enclave within Rome was to be held by the Holy See and what was to fall under the command of the Kingdom of Italy. To maintain hold on the Vatican City property, Popes and other clergy remained holed up inside for 59 years until the questione romana was answered

In 1929, King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and Pope Pius XI signed the Lateran Treaty, ratified as an agreement to settle the political dispute that arose after the unification of Italy in 1861.

Whilst all secular power the Pope had held was lost, the Vatican State was recognised as the sovereign territory of the Holy See. The Holy See has "full ownership, exclusive dominion, and sovereign authority and jurisdiction" over Vatican City State.

Today, Vatican City is the smallest independent state in the world, with a population of less than 850 people living in a space of just 44 hectares. Most Vatican City inhabitants are Catholic clergy from around the world.

Predominantly due to lack of space within the Vatican City walls, foreign embassies to the Vatican are located throughout Rome, although some were permitted within the walls during  World War II.

Inside the Vatican City walls is the Vatican Museums, showcasing artworks accumulated by the church. The Vatican Museums collection dates back to the early 1500s and is today number five on the list of the world’s most visited museums of art.

The first piece added to the Vatican Museum collection was an excavated sculpture, Laocoön and His Sons, that likely dated back to 27 BC and 68 AD, unearthed in Rome in 1506  before being placed on display as the Vatican Museums first artwork just one month later.

Two years later, Michelangelo commenced the Sistine Chapel Ceiling. Around the same time, Raphael was commissioned to work on the Stanze della Segnatura.

Today, the Vatican Museums house 54 galleries showcasing some of the world’s most precious artworks.

Vatican City has its own economy, earning income from ticket sales to the Vatican Museum, the selling of publications and souvenirs, as well as official Vatican postage stamps and even commemorative coins from its own currency.

The Vatican City has its own communications services (including its own radio station), as well as health and security departments.

€ 75.00

Masterpieces of the Vatican & St. Peter's

Our Vatican tours get you streamlined access to the museum and its world-famous collection of masterpieces. Book your place in one of our small groups led by some of the most knowledgeable and passionate local guides.
€ 69.00

The Vatican with Pre-Reserved Museum Tickets

Experience the pomp and grandeur of the Holy City during this private visit to the Vatican. Pre-reserved entry comes with a personal expert guide who will lead you through the stunning corridors and halls of the Vatican for a truly memorable experience.
€ 165.00

After-Hours Vatican Museum Visit, by Special Invitation

Experience your very own private after-hours access to the Vatican Museums, in the company of an expert historian who will guide you through the Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica.
€ 31.25

Private transfer from Civitavecchia Port to Rome centre

Make the most of your day in Rome with this private transfer from your cruise ship in Civitavecchia to central Rome.